Strategic Plan - Goal 7

Strategic Goal:  Develop, retain, and recruit high quality people who contribute to a satisfying and productive work environment.

Success Indicators:

  1. By year 5, at least 80 percent of employees will participate in professional development opportunities each year.
  2. Employee productivity will increase as measured by decreased amount of time spent on specified tasks.
  3. Employee retention will hold steady or increase.
  4. Annual, validated surveys (and exit interviews) of campus employees will show an overall 15 percent increase in measures of professional satisfaction over the period 2006-2011.
    • Professional satisfaction measures will include questions about opportunities for growth, adequacy of support services (professional development and training opportunities), degree to which job flexibility enhances satisfaction, degree to which proficiency in job related technology enhances satisfaction, degree to which job evaluations are tied to job expectations, degree to which pursuit of a shared mission results in a sense of community, degree to which pay is acceptable, etc.

  Timeline, Reports, Team Members.                    Task Force Findings.                   


Action Step 1.  Determine the level of professional satisfaction, and identify and address significant concerns.

  1. Convene a task force to poll faculty and staff to determine areas of job satisfaction, key job related frustrations, and employee proposed solutions to reduce and eliminate these frustrations.
  2. Determine which of the proposed solutions would have the greatest impact and are the most cost effective.
  3. Implement these solutions. The simple act of gathering this information may improve morale on campus; however this will be short lived if no visible progress is seen on implementing solutions. For this reason the task force should address first those items that are easiest to implement and will have the largest impact.

Action Step 1 Assessment: Establish a benchmark of job satisfaction. Conduct annual surveys to determine if progress has been made on concerns identified in previous surveys.


Action Step 2. Increase the sense of community and shared mission among employees.

  1. Create an easily identified gathering area for faculty/staff. Informal discussions with faculty/staff suggest that a “faculty/staff gathering area” was a feature of campus that existed in the past and they missed having it now.
  2. Use this site for information-sharing brown bag lunch series, meetings, professional development (see action step 4) and recognition ceremonies and other activities related to building community.
  3. Expand the recognition activities from celebrating individual accomplishments such as Faculty Recognition, the Boram Award, etc. to include celebrations of group achievements, such as program accreditation, etc.
  4. Utilize the Center for Teaching Excellence for guidance and support in community building activities.

Action Step 2 Assessment: Tally people using the gathering space and measure the perception of community and shared mission using a survey. An increase in perceived sense of community over time would indicate success.


Action Step 3.  Develop policies that enable job flexibility.

  1. Establish a working group to propose policies regarding job flexibility for faculty and staff. The final policies should address flexibility in work day/week as well as alternative job arrangements, for example reduced loads for faculty, or sharing a single job between more than one employee, to make us more competitive in recruiting and retaining professional couples.

Action Step 3 Assessment: New policies are in place that enable job flexibility AND employees report that increased job flexibility improves job satisfaction. (See Action Step 1)


Action Step 4. Expand opportunities for professional development and training.

  1. Hire someone to organize, promote, and offer staff development activities (similar to the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence). Tie in with the umbrella group for teaching and learning proposed in Strategic Goal 1, Action Step 1. 
  2. Establish a training and development lab where employees can go to work through tutorials, with help nearby.
  3. Create an information (technology) sharing brown bag lunch series. Through necessity many faculty and staff have discovered ways to work more efficiently (for example specific software tricks), but there exists no forum for disseminating these ideas other than random word of mouth.  The opportunity to show what you know and to learn from your colleagues would help create an environment where there are “opportunities to learn and grow."
  4. Increase by 25 percent participation and opportunities for professional development for faculty in their field of study (work with "Regional Well-Being" task force to ensure economic development focus).
  5. Continue and expand faculty development initiatives as a collaboration between the Center for Teaching Excellence and deans/chairs (e.g. new faculty orientation and mentoring, development targeted separately at probationary, adjunct, midstream faculty, etc.)
  6. Additional faculty/staff development ideas:
    • Collaborate with the Center for Workforce Education, West Virginia University, and others to help defray training costs.
    • Foreign language workshop (e.g. could enhance skills prior to travel, or to improve employability or satisfaction in an increasingly diverse future).
    • Collaborate with Benefits Office to address additional topics, such as time management, self-improvement, wellness, etc.
    • Provide leadership training opportunities for faculty and staff. 

Action Step 4 Assessment: Track the number of employees taking advantage of professional development opportunities and show growth. Assess the perceived helpfulness of professional development (employees and supervisors).


Action Step 5. Increase productivity through effective use of technology.

  1. Convert all possible paper processes to fully electronic processes. (Reducing paperwork will make everyone’s job more efficient, thereby enabling people to "work smarter, not harder." This activity would acknowledge that we are moving to an electronic future. Providing a well thought out and organized example of how to live in an electronic world may help ease some of the frustration and angst about the transition).
    • Convert all paper forms to fillable electronic forms.
    • Create a central electronic repository for all electronic forms used at Fairmont State
    • Examine all current paper-based processes on campus for ergonomic utility.
    • Convert all possible paper processes to a standard digital electronic format that makes full use of the power of electronic submission, tracking, and signatures.
    • Implement a digital signature process on campus and explore using it off campus as well.
    • Ask employees seeking training to bring a form to a training session that needs to be revised.
  2. Create a technology innovations recognition program which would provide a modest financial reward (i.e.,  less than the Boram Award so as to not diminish the importance of the teaching award) and public recognition to employees who make suggestions that result in more efficient work processes. This will further reinforce the idea that we are moving to an increasingly electronic world and we all need new skills to survive in this world, and will provide examples of how other employees are surviving in an increasingly technical world.
  3. Document user minutes involved with all communication and information sharing processes on campus in an effort to reduce time spent by end-users.
  4. Implement a single portal for all web-based job and teaching functions.
  5. Share solutions through brown-bag lunches and other training options as described under action step 4.
  6. Examine how the existing software tools we have can be used more effectively. We have probably only scratched the surface of the capabilities of our current software tools. Everyone can learn to be more productive (by doing things differently).

Action Step 5 Assessment: Demonstrating an increase in the number of employees who report increased job satisfaction as a result of increased proficiency in job related technology. (See Action Step 1) Monitor the number of forms available in fillable electronic form and the number of paper processes converted to digital processes. A detailed timeline should be set by the working group by December 2006.